Over the past few years, blockchain-based Play-to-Earn (P2E) games have drastically changed the in-game item trading landscape. However, virtual assets are not something new to the gaming industry.
Even during the mid-2000s, gamers used Second Life’s virtual currency, i.e., the Linden dollar. Similarly, World of Witchcraft had a thriving bidding marketplace on eBay for Murloc’s eggs.
Nevertheless, the introduction of NFT-based gameplay has completely revolutionized P2E games. Thanks to blockchain’s ability to write immutable and provable ownership records, these games have become more exciting than ever before.
In 2021 alone, NFT games contributed almost $5.17 billion to the $23 billion NFT market cap. Even during the current struggling and bearish market, P2E tokens share a $7.6 billion market cap. Despite the exponential growth and expansion, the P2E games need to improve in several departments to ensure sustainability in the long run.
The Problems Plaguing Play-to-Earn (P2E) Games
Probably the most significant problem with P2E games is that they require players to make an initial investment to acquire NFTs. As is the case with all virtual assets, the NFTs that are better developed with more exclusive attributes – thus, higher chances of winning – are usually quite expensive.
This forces gamers to spend a heavy amount if they desire better results in the game. For example, a team of three ‘floor Axies’ available for $100 has little chance of winning a game.
To deal with this problem, the Axie community came up with scholarship programs, and gaming guilds have sprung up everywhere to help players hop on board from developing nations. Through these scholarship and gaming guilds, players with insufficient capital for the initial investment can loan out NFT assets.
The win reward is then distributed between the NFT owner and the player. Unfortunately, most guild managers scoop a very high commission and percentage of players’ hard-earned rewards. This leads to a highly unequal gaming environment in which players are coerced to perform and share their earnings with their managers.
On the other hand, this model is unjustifiably favorable to resourceful players who have no problem paying for high-cost NFTs. As a result, they have better chances of winning the matches against gamers with limited resources. Therefore, the scale is always tilted in favor of the richest players, ultimately creating an inequitable gaming ecosystem.
On top of that, favoring resourceful players is not the only way P2E games lead to an inequitable climate. Gaming companies, which are more than often centralized entities, receive a massive share of the profits.
This aspect is entirely against the decentralization principle of the blockchain industry. Instead of evenly distributing rewards among all stakeholders, a small governing body profits from the time and effort of hardworking players. Moreover, unlike most of the blockchain world, players cannot partake in the platform’s decision-making and governance.
Finally, a sizable portion of P2E games ends up compromising on gameplay and offering a shabby experience to players. Players will often get bored of these games without an engaging, immersive narrative and graphics.
In fact, most P2E games fail to offer an authentic AAA gaming experience, and players eventually lose interest. Because of this, there is a tendency for players to deboard such games after they feel that they have earned enough and there is nothing more for them to gain.
Some P2E games have already identified these shortcomings and are coming up with innovative solutions to tackle these challenges.
Technological Solutions Addressing the Problems
Some newer P2E games offer their players an integrated in-game NFT rental offer. This enables them to escape greedy guild managers who ask for hefty commissions. Thanks to these options, if less resourceful players want to acquire in-game NFTs, they can easily do so from within the game itself.
Rental opportunities help establish healthier and mutually beneficial relationships in the gaming community where NFT owners can assist players through Rent-and-Earn options. The smart contracts-enabled payment infrastructures evenly distribute game rewards between renters and renters without involving any intermediaries.
However, this infrastructure still doesn’t solve the inequitable game climate caused by rich gamers being able to purchase high-end NFTs to outperform players with base-level assets.
For creating a fairer playable landscape, P2E games need to focus on developing gameplays that are more affected by gaming strategy than possessing expensive in-game items. Game outcomes should be less dependent on costly NFT assets and more on an effective skillset, as this will give every player a fair chance at winning and earning crypto.
P2E games can only be sustainable if the gaming community routinely receives rewards and a share of the game economy. Players must have access to special clubs where gaming protocols will encourage them to hold in-game assets for a long time.
Members-only clubs with fun activities will incentivize players to engage with the gaming platforms on a daily basis. Moreover, players holding in-game tokens must have proportional voting powers to participate in governance decisions and uphold a liquid democracy.
Lastly, P2E games need to focus more on the entertainment factor and aim to offer a rich gaming experience along with the fair P2E model. It is imperative for players to find the game enjoyable to ensure that they can continue to play for a long time. Without an engaging gaming interface, P2E games will find it challenging to keep the interest of their client base or make their mark in the industry.
Riot Racers: A Fair and Exciting Play-to-Earn Game
Play-to-Earn games like Riot Racers not only incorporate the aforementioned solutions into their infrastructure but also offer a highly engaging gameplay experience.
For starters, NFT car owners can rent their assets to players, with the earnings evenly distributed via RIOT tokens. The Riot Owners Club (ROC) also rewards and incentivizes players to participate in the game’s ecosystem.
In addition to the in-game rental option and Riot Owners Club, Riot Racers has also designed gameplay in which 51% of the game’s result depends on the player’s skills and gaming strategy.
On top of that, the custom tournament feature allows players to create their own tournaments where they decide the number of participants, number of heats, tournament status (public/private), and more. Similarly, the 12-weekend long Riot Racers Cup heats things up every season. Many players join major events and the season-ending tournament to win huge cash prizes.
Apart from all these exciting features and game mechanics, developers at Riot Racers are working to incorporate new elements. Soon players will be able to upgrade their cars.
This will include the engine, tires, exhaust, NOS, and ECU chip. Moreover, the company is shortly launching an achievement system that will act as a customer loyalty program. After the upcoming updates, players will also be able to stake their RIOT tokens for extra rewards.
Over the last few months, the NFT-based game industry is expanding exponentially. According to the Q1 2022 DAppRadar x BGA Games report, blockchain-based game playing has seen a 2,000% increase since Q1 of 2021 – almost 52% of all blockchain-related activities.
Once Play-to-Earn games are successfully able to adopt sustainable strategies and incorporate technological innovations, we can confidently say that the gaming sector will continue to thrive and generate even more revenue in the coming years.